I was lucky enough to be surrounded by inspiring working mothers throughout my career, an environment which empowered me to believe that I could also have both. I have always been a driven and career focused individual, and that drive grew more after having children. Now more than ever I had found my purpose; my “why.” I enjoyed having a career and I also enjoyed being a mother. I was so happy that I was able to do both..
In the early stages of a being a new mom, I did question if having a career would impact my relationship with my child. Was I a good mom even though I worked full-time? Was I truly able to do both and be happy? Would my kid know I loved them even though I decided to have a career too?
I really think the only reason these doubts ever made me question myself as a working mother was the constant unsolicited advice that I would hear from other people, many of whom were mothers themselves. “How can you choose your career over your children?” “Do you want to miss your baby’s first steps?” “Why have children if someone else is going to be caring for them?” Talk about a gut punch, especially for a first-time mom.
Personally, the decision for me was pretty simple. I knew I wanted to have children and a career. I wanted to show my kids that both things were possible. My life mission was to make sure my children knew how much I loved them no matter what. I believed so strongly that just because I chose to have a career, that in no way indicated that I didn’t care for my kids as much as a mother who didn’t work. I believe it’s absolutely misguided to even come to that conclusion. Sadly, many people still have (and promote) this misconception.
Despite having those negative comments hovering in the shadows of early stage motherhood, I quickly learned that I was truly happy with my decision of being a working mother. I am a true believer in quality over quantity when it comes to spending time with my family. I make sure to enjoy every squeeze, kiss, bath time session, and cuddle after I complete my work for the day.
On weekends, you would find us exploring our city and always on the go, doing fun stuff as a family. One of my many favorite mottos is: WORK HARD. PLAY HARD. We truly lived by that motto. As tired as I was after working all week, I always made it a point to have some fun with my family on the weekends. I knew that my child knew she was loved and cared for when she was at school. She was in a safe environment while I was working and it felt good. She was a happy, well-adjusted kid and that mom guilt slowly drifted away as time passed.
After having my second, I yet again was determined to continue with my career. I had found a school for both children to attend while my husband and I worked. I continued being the best mom that I could be to both and continued climbing the corporate ladder as well.
I know that choosing to work is not always the case for all working mothers. Some mothers don’t choose to work; sometimes they have to, for financial reasons. I really feel compassion for those moms, the ones who aren’t given the luxury of a choice. For me, I knew I wanted to do both, so the judgements didn’t impact me as much, but for mothers who are forced to enter the workforce I cannot even imagine the pain they go through when someone judges them about being a working mother. Mom guilt is no joke. It can take over your mental health and really make you question your abilities as a mother. (Not to mention, the anger that arises when you realize working fathers never face this level of judgement and scrutiny from society.)
I have had several friends cry to me about not wanting to work and wished they could stay home and raise their children. My heart breaks for them.
Mothers should never be made to feel that they care less for their kids because they chose to have a career. Working mothers don’t have to justify having or pursuing a career to anyone. The kids of working parents are not missing out or getting less love or bonding time. At the end of the day, it’s okay to work simply because you want to. Because feeling fulfilled as a mom will carry over to your kids — even if that fulfillment means being away from them for a little while.